los-angeles

Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman and Peter Alexander

UCLA Art Galleries

UCLA’s exhibition, Transparency, Reflection, Light, Space: Four Artists, reveals, sometimes inadvertently, almost all that is at once strong and frail about Los Angeles art. The show is fittingly (for a university facility) a kind of crash course in the thrust of recent art-thinking: a super problem-solving process (problems of consciousness, not one color or shape against another) whose products run the gamut from Larry Bell’s still-fantastic object, to Robert Irwin’s stairwell (“activated . . . perceptually with as little event or object as possible”). All of it deals with the title categories and all of it is quite distant, cerebral, laboratoried and expressionless (in the sense that the artist seeks out not personal, but sensory-philosophical questions; looking at the show one might believe people live forever, without bowel movements). Pastel, selfless, vaguely optimistic, up-to-date,

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